Thursday, 1 March 2018

A poem by Michael Dwayne Smith


I do experience loss, a sense of one’s own illness,
and I don’t like idle talk or being judged. Probably

I’ve visited her twenty times. I didn’t want to be
invisible in California, or sadly surprised, so she

taught me a different way of working, challenged
play to become something more. Look, this is just

fucking madness here, Ted Kaczynski not a disease
but a symptom and all they do is blame Islam now

because Scientology, Marilyn, and Rock ’n Roll ain’t
workin’ anymore. You only need to take a cab in L.A.

to understand the many intersections here, straight
white men trying to steer through HIV, assault rifles,

Tijuana, Big Pharma, Black America, Hollywood
playgrounds, Playboy sans nudity, Red Lobster,

bankruptcy, hecklers, open questions about Queer.
I’m here, lodged between the Airport Hilton and

homemade fear, and she’s driving down to save me.
I’ve given her nothing, deserve nothing. Imagine

dragging yourself, she said on the phone last night,
So then you’d get to decide where to be pulled…

pre-9/11 simplicity, pre-Katrina NOLA, anytime
anywhere pre-Internet…

I said no, none of those. Maybe something in a new
comic book hero, with a noir passion for isolation,

a future-sick sense of here, now, of one’s own loss.

Michael Dwayne Smith lives near a Mojave Desert ghost town with his family and rescued animals. His most recent book is Roadside Epiphanies (Cholla Needles Press, 2017). Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, recipient of both the Hinderaker Award for poetry and Polonsky Prize for fiction, his work haunts many literary houses--including The Cortland Review, New World Writing, Skidrow Penthouse, Word Riot, Heron Tree, Pirene's Fountain, Gravel, San Pedro River Review, Monkeybicycle, burntdistrict--and has been widely anthologized. When not writing or teaching, MDS is editor of Mojave River Press & Review.

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